The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the two biggest team competitions in golf, as both the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup are moving back by a full year.
The PGA of America, PGA Tour, and Ryder Cup Europe jointly announced Wednesday that they will postpone the 43rd Ryder Cup until September 2021.
Organizers Say Fans are Critical to Ryder Cup
Teams from the United States and Europe planned to compete for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, from Sept. 25-27.
Organizers were reluctant to hold the event this September when they couldn’t guarantee that fans would be able to attend, according to PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh.
“It became clear that, as of today, our medical experts and the public authorities in Wisconsin could not give us certainty that conducting an event responsibly with thousands of spectators in September would be possible,” Waugh said in a statement. “As disappointing as this is, our mandate to do all we can to safeguard public health is what matters most. The spectators who support both the US and European sides are what make the Ryder Cup such a unique and compelling event, and playing without them was not a realistic option.”
Every other year, teams representing the United States and Europe compete for the Ryder Cup, with the host alternating. The event began in 1927 as a competition between the United States and Great Britain.
The American team’s domination prompted organizers to expand the British and Irish team to include the entirety of Europe beginning in 1979. Since that time, Europe has won 11 times, with the United States coming out on top eight times, with one tie.
The teams traditionally contest the Ryder Cup in odd-numbered years. However, the 2001 competition moved to 2002 due to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The competition will now return to its traditional odd-year schedule.
Americans Favored Over International Teams
European captain Padraig Harrington supports the decision to delay the match.
“Rescheduling the Ryder Cup was never going to be an easy decision given the many factors to take into consideration,” Harrington said in a statement. “But I believe it is the right assessment given the unprecedented circumstances we are facing at this time.”
PointsBet listed the United States as a -143 favorite to win the 2020 Ryder Cup, with the Europeans posted as +140 underdogs.
Since 1994, the United States has also contested the Presidents Cup against a team made up of golfers from the rest of the world outside of Europe. That tournament moved to odd-numbered years after organizers canceled the 2001 Ryder Cup. With the 2020 Ryder Cup moving back a year, the 2021 Presidents Cup will now move to 2022 and stay on even-numbered years for the foreseeable future.
The United States has won 11 Presidents Cup competitions, with the International Team winning just one, and one match ending in a tie.
Team USA stands as a -271 favorite over the International team (+325) in the next Presidents Cup competition.